Spontaneous applause at the end of Monday’s Remembrance Day ceremony at Sylvan Lake’s multiplex capped the best attended service in the community’s history.
As the colour party marched off, followed by Veterans, Legion and Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary members and others in uniform, the crowd of about 1,200 people showed their appreciation with prolonged clapping.
Among those marching and in attendance were large contingents from 41 Signal Regiment, 2 Squadron Red Deer; Sylvan Lake RCMP officers; Sylvan Lake firefighters; and members of Sylvan Lake’s Girl Guide and Scout organizations.
The service began with reading of Lt.-Col. John McCrae’s famous poem, In Flanders Fields, by Rev. John Yoos. Reta Coubrough read the Reply to Flanders Fields by John Mitchell.
At several times during the service, young people were called to participate.
Pathfinder Darion Hamilton and Guide Alyssa McDougall read the scriptures.
Kirstynn Joseph, Derek Penman and Michael Bentley, winners of the 2012 Literary and Poster competition sponsored by The Royal Canadian Legion, Sylvan Lake branch, read their entries.
Chaplain Rev. Jin Woo Kim of Memorial Presbyterian Church talked of sacrifices made in the name of protecting freedoms, achieving true peace and of remembrance for those sacrifices, in his address.
“Since 3,600 B.C., the world has known only 292 years of peace,” he began. “During this period there have been 14,351 wars large and small, in which 3.64 billion people have been killed … Since 650 B.C., there have also been 1,656 arms races, only 16 of which have not ended in war. The remainder ended in the economic collapse of the countries involved.”
On Remembrance Day we “recognize and express our gratitude to the men and women who have served our country in the military” … “we honour and remember those brave men and women who offered their lives in service to their country. We honour the courage they showed in their willingness to lay down their lives for their friends.”
“Scripture,” the chaplain said, “has much to tell us about people today was established to honour. Probably the most often quoted verse on such occasions is John 15:13, “No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends”.”
“Jesus Christ laid down His life, not for His own sake, but for the sake of all people, including us today. Christ himself was the model of this kind of sacrificial love, and we are called to follow his example.”
… “These words — that the greatest love is to lay down one’s life for one’s friends — refer especially to His own sacrifice — but they also hold true for anyone who is willing to lay down their lives for their friends. That love that he fought from — a love for the human race — is a love that a good soldier shares. It is a love that inspires him to deeds of great sacrifice. It is a love that carries him through long nights and terrible warfare. And it is the Lord’s love, although he feels it as his own.”
Kim said, “The good soldier does not go to war because he loves war, but because he desires peace. The goal of every good soldier is peace — true peace, heavenly peace. This is not the apparent peace that comes when one country dominates another, or the false peace in a nation where the ruler treats his people as slaves. True, heavenly peace comes from following the Lord in freedom. That is what the men and the women who have fought and died for this country have truly fought for — the freedoms that we all enjoy today, the most important of which is this: the freedom to follow God as we see fit. When we follow the Lord from our own free will, there are battles we must face — but this is the path that leads to true peace.”
He concluded with “thanks for men and women who have given their lives for our freedom” and “thanks to God for those who stand guard over Canada today to protect and preserve our freedom”.
Following Kim’s inspirational message, Cadet Sergeant Derek Penman played the Last Post. The Lament was piped by Robert and Sylvia Morrison then Penman played Rouse. Sylvan Lake Legion President Steve Dills recited The Act of Remembrance.
Silver Cross Mother Patricia Myrol placed a wreath on behalf of all mothers who have lost children in service to Canada. Other wreaths were placed on behalf of various levels of government, Veterans and community organizations.
Memorial Presbyterian Church Choir led in singing accompanied by pianist Cheri Kay.
41 Signal Regiment provided the Cenotaph Honour Guard at both the indoor service and at the Memorial Park Cenotaph for the 2 p.m. outdoor service.
At that time MP Earl Dreeshen, MLA Kerry Towle and Mayor Sean McIntyre laid wreaths.